(Noblesville, August 17, 2020) – The State of Indiana received $2.4 billion in federal aid from the federal economic stimulus package known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES ACT). The state set aside $300 million to be distributed to counties, cities and towns. Hamilton County received $10,709,238.00 (the cities and towns within Hamilton County all received individual funding based on population).
The funds will help the county recuperate expenses already incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the funding will pay for eligible expenses going forward as the county continues to recover from the impacts of this pandemic.
“The county is taking extraordinary measures to protect the citizens of Hamilton County as well as our county employees during the pandemic, while continuing to provide the necessary services communities rely on,” said Robin Mills, Hamilton County Auditor. “With this funding, the county can cover critical expenses that arise from the COVID-19 crisis.”
The county is working closely with the Indiana Finance Authority (IFA), the agency in charge of administering the program. “The county is in contact with the IFA almost daily as we work to decide which expenses are allowable cost under CARES ACT funding,” said Todd Clevenger, Hamilton County Grant Administrator. “These funds must specifically be used to cover costs that fall within three major categories: necessary expenses incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic, costs not accounted for in the county’s most recently approved budget as of March 27, 2020 and costs incurred during the period that begins on March 1, 2020 and ends on December 30, 2020. Then, within these three major categories are another 6 subcategories that expenses must further fit into. It is the Auditor’s Office responsibility to make sure all the departments, within the county and any non-governmental units we help, stay in compliance with all the requirements outlined in section 601(a) of the Social Security Act as added by section 5001 of the CARES ACT.”
Most costs are clearly eligible, while others fall into more grey areas. “Every expenditure that a county department proposes is sent to the IFA for prior approval,” explained Clevenger. “If the IFA declares the expense does not meet the necessary criteria and is not an allowable cost, it does not get purchased or submitted for reimbursement.”
To date, the county has submitted two reimbursement requests to the IFA totaling $1,114,167.24, $433,351.98 of which has already been approved and reimbursed to the county. The remaining $680,815.26 is currently in the review process and barring any issues, will be reimbursed in 8-10 days. The next county reimbursement request will be submitted to the IFA around September 3rd.
The majority of current county expenditures fall under two subcategories: Category 2 which includes: public health expenses such as expenses for communicating to the public and employees, regarding mandated public health orders related to COVID-19. Also, expenses for the acquisition and distribution of medical and personal protective equipment (PPE), including sanitizing products, masks, gloves, plexiglass barriers and thermometers. The county has spent approximately $290,000 on Category 2 items. Category 4 includes: expenses to facilitate compliance with COVID-19 related public health measures such as expenses to improve telework/remote capabilities to enable compliance with COVID-19 public health precautions. The county has spent approximately $700,000 on Category 4 items.
“The county is also working with non-governmental units such as youth sports programs and public health clinics, that have been unsuccessful in obtaining funding from their cities or towns, to help ensure these organizations can protect their clients, as the county continues to reopen,” said Mills. “On behalf of everyone in Hamilton County, I’d like to thank the IFA for administering, distributing and guiding us through the CARES ACT funding process. It can seem daunting at times, but with the IFA’s assistance we are able to continue to help those that live, work and visit our county, as we respond and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.”